Image of a pen and glasses on a ResumeResumes provide potential employers a quick way to learn about you and your skills. Today’s guest blogger shares tips to help you create a strong resume and get interviews and job offers!

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Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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Resumes: The Key to Opening Interview Doors

May 8, 2017

By Guest Blogger Paula Reuben Vieillet, President of Employment Options Inc.  

Image of a pen and glasses on a Resume

The purpose of a resume is to help you get an interview. Think of your resume less like an informational document and more like a paper “commercial” that sells you to potential employers. Because your resume is such an important part of your career path, we’re sharing tips to help you plan and write one that will help employers notice you!  

Appearance matters

You wouldn’t arrive for an interview with your shirt on backwards or spinach in your teeth. How your resume looks and reads matters just as much! Here are some tips:

  • Plan a one-page resume. The average amount of time that someone from a company’s Human Resources (HR) department looks at a resume is less than 20 seconds!
  • Use standard page setup and fonts. One-inch margins and a standard font like Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman in 10- or 12-point font size will make your resume easier to read.
  • Save your resume in Microsoft Word. Many HR systems electronically scan resumes for keywords and cannot read PDFs and other file types.
  • Highlight your contact information. Use a large, clear font to make sure hiring managers can easily find out how to contact you for an interview.

Take job descriptions seriously!

Job descriptions clarify what education, certifications and skills are required for the job. Before you write your resume, highlight the description’s keywords. To attract the attention of hiring managers, use these keywords to make it clear that you have the experience and skills they’re looking for. Include software you’ve worked with and qualities employers look for, like organization and the ability to work well on a team.

What’s in a name?

Review your contact information and outgoing voicemail message to be sure they sound professional. Avoid embarrassing nicknames and revealing personal information. If necessary, consider opening a new email account and re-recording your voicemail message.

Organizing your content

Use section headers to separate content on your resume. Here are the most important section headers:

  • Objective or summary
  • Be specific when you write your objective. “Seeking a position where I can contribute to the team” is too general. Instead, use the job title as a targeted objective.

    Use summary statements to highlight years or qualities. For example, “More than 15 years’ administrative experience with travel and database responsibilities,” or “Self-motivated and precise accountant with more than 10 years’ experience.”

  • Skills and qualifications
  • Use job description terms like “detail-oriented,” “typing skills” or specific software programs. At a glance, the recruiter can see your skill set. Don’t forget transferable skills that bridge industries like organizing, delegating and customer service.

  • Employment experience
  • Focus on your last 3 jobs and major duties included in the job description based on your last 10-15 years. If your experience was more than 15 years ago, summarize it at the bottom.

  • Example:
    Prior job title
    Customer Support, XYZ Company - 5 years’ experience

  • Education
  • Include awards or a high GPA if applicable. Current students should list their field of study and projected graduation date.

  • Licenses and certifications
  • Some jobs may require you to have specific licenses or certifications. Make sure certifications or licenses are listed on your resume.

Deciding to Disclose

There are a few specific instances, such as when applying for a job with a federal contractor or subcontractor, for a job with the federal government, or one working with people with a disability similar to yours that disclosing on your resume can be to your advantage.

Think carefully about each job that you’re applying for and make the decision about disclosure after weighing all the pros and cons.

Gaps in employment

People sometimes have gaps in employment. These gaps can be covered by volunteer work, school, caregiving or being a homemaker — all legitimate reasons to be temporarily out of the workforce.

Example:

Personal Caregiver 3/2013-12/2016
- Provided care for family member
- Handled their finances
- Scheduled medical appointments

Dos and don’ts

  • Do avoid pre-interview discrimination by leaving out ethnic, political or religious affiliations.
  • Don’t disclose your disability in most cases.  In most cases, jobseekers with disabilities find that waiting until they’ve been offered an interview or a job is to their advantage.  Let your talents and skills speak for themselves on paper.
  • Do have someone proofread your resume.
  • Do remember: Great resumes can lead to an interview — and a job offer! 

About the guest blogger

Paula Reuben Vieillet is President of Employment Options Inc., a Social Security Employment Network for the Ticket to Work program, specializing in working from home and community placement. Contact her at www.MyEmploymentOptions.com

About Ticket to Work

Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work.
The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit www.ssa.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

To find tips on how to write a strong cover letter, check out our blog post, A Better Cover Letter. In it, we share how to get your cover letter noticed by employers and whether you should disclose your disability.